E-Commerce Enhancements And Opportunities: Google Shopping Campaigns (Part 1)

 

If you sell products online via Google Product Listing Ads (PLA), then you’ve likely heard about the imminent (and mandatory) upgrade to Google’s new and improved way of serving these ads, called Google Shopping Campaigns. This post will be the first in our two part series on this important new opportunity for online retailers.

Google Shopping campaigns give you much more flexibility, both in how you manage your inventory, and how you organize and bid on your products. You can easily view your entire inventory right within AdWords and create custom “product groups” (sort of like ad groups) via custom labels in your product feed. This provides much more control on the bidding side because you can now easily organize products any way you want and set ideal bids for those product groups.

One of the problems with traditional PLA campaigns has always been the limited ability to bid on specific products. Furthermore, the ability to customize the structure of PLA campaigns was far too dependent on the actual structure of the Merchant Center product feed, with a limited number of feed attributes available for campaign segmentation, but not much in the way of flexible solutions for organizing inventory based on performance, or other factors not addressed by the feed attributes available for use in campaign segmentation.

 

How Shopping Campaigns Solve This Problem:

 

1.) More “retail-centric” way to manage products

Google’s goal is to allow advertisers to organize products with the same degree of flexibility of a brick and mortar shop, and not confine organization to a limited number of product feed attributes.

For example, arrange products by:

  • Sales performance
  • Seasonality
  • Promotional offers

 

2.) Competitive Insights

Shopping campaigns give insight into the competitive landscape by providing benchmark CPC and CTR data, as well as impression share reports.

 

3.) Better reporting

You now have the option to bid (and see performance data) at every level of your campaign structure. This means product-level segmentation is available for ultra-granular bidding, as well as the option to bid based on more general product categories, product types, etc., if product-level bidding isn’t warranted, or is not practical.

 

Advertisers Are Already Seeing Great Results

Not surprisingly, these enhancements have already resulted in increased PLA performance for many advertisers. Here are a few case studies from Google:

“We used the product-level data from our Shopping campaign to fine-tune our bidding strategy, focusing on the products that acquired the most traffic & lowered the ones that are less important. This helped us increase visits 25% & ROI by 16%.” -Wiggle

“The new Shopping campaigns allowed us to achieve a much higher-level of profitability, cutting costs by 13% and increasing return on ad spend by about 22% on average. Not only that, the new campaign type trims about 2 hours of setup time.” -Exclusive Concepts

 

Expect Higher Google Shopping CPCs Across the Board

It’s not unreasonable to expect CPCs to raise for product ads as a result of this universal upgrade. New tools and features will allow advertisers to work smarter, and enhanced functionality and competitive insights will mean that more work must be done to stay competitive. That said, this is a great opportunity for all advertisers because of the added — and much needed — control of inventory organization, bidding, and reporting.  

 

The Deadline Is Near!

August 31st is the deadline for migrating traditional PLA Campaigns over to Google Shopping. After this data, your PLA campaigns will no longer serve! So, the time is now to take advantage of this opportunity and migrate all current PLA campaigns to Google Shopping.

 

Conclusion

  • Google Shopping offers myriad advantages of traditional PLA campaigns
  • More flexibility of inventory organization means more bidding control
  • Enhanced reporting gives performance data at every level of campaign segmentation, including at the product level
  • Competitive metrics allow you to better understand your performance in context
  • Expect a more competitive PLA landscape
  • Upgrade PLA campaigns to Google Shopping by August 31st.